A.G. Rud holds picture of a cougarOur college’s biggest contributions to educational leadership include the superintendent certification programs offered in Vancouver, the Tri-Cities and Spokane.  So I was delighted to speak last Friday to 50 administrators enrolled in the Spokane program, which is directed by Gene Sharratt.

I shared my concerns about education with these folks, who must deal with reduced state funding for K-12 education. Their school districts face staff reductions, larger class sizes, reduced personal attention to student learning needs, and diminished support for professional development and materials to the classroom. I shared some personal history, as well as my ideas about the importance of collaboration and respect for educators. I received several gifts, including this Cougar portrait, signed by all the students in the program’s 2009-2011 cohort. I’ll display it proudly in my office, so please come by and see it.

By the way, I plan to get away from Pullman to visit our other campuses at least four times a year. Before heading to Spokane last week, I spent Thursday meeting with Vancouver faculty and with a friend of the college, Dan Harmon, a member of the Board of Governors of the WSU Foundation, at his office in Portland. Dan’s daughter is graduating from WSU in a few weeks in English Education (summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa), so it was great to connect with him. As a Governor, Dan is intimately involved and knowledgable about many aspects of the university, and I gained a great deal hearing his insights into the importance of good teaching.